Sunday, February 8, 2009
AWP ~ Playing the Game
For anyone making the trek to AWP this year, here's a fun essay from Agni by J.S. Tunotre: "AWP Chicago: A Gamer's Notes." Here are two excerpts to give you a taste:
In AWP Convention Game regulations, a salutation, an exchange such as the above, between people who already know each other, technically counts for nothing. It must either be truncated—for economical use of time is vital—or else parlayed, turned to advantage. The point of play, if I haven’t made this clear enough yet, is to trade up, to advance the avatar, and the only way this can happen is when someone with a higher-stratum position (more publications, better publications, more ascertainable connections) sees you, and with that certification promotes you along the board. This is hardly arbitrary. For as everyone knows, being seen from a higher position only happens when there is something to be seen, though of course the appearance of being seen has value insofar as you might be seen being seen, and therefore score second-order points (described in game book) whether or not there is genuine substance behind the encounter. The calculus is very tricky, and point scoring is often hotly contested.
I am speaking here for all of us who still cannot walk into a room, a literary arena, without immediately seeing it as a complexly graded hierarchy, a scarcely disguised Hobbesian jungle, tyrannized over not by teeth and claws, but by their verbal equivalents. We all ask the same questions: How do we go about trying to advance our avatar along the board; how do we achieve status lift? Or, less cynically: how can we find our way into situations where our natural merits (our sensibility, our intelligence, our not-sufficiently-regarded achievements to date) can be made known and be validated?